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What a difference a dog makes

As I See It

One of my favorite sports is walking in my neighborhood. I suppose “neighborhood” is somewhat misleading since I live out in the country. However, where we live is our neighborhood regardless of whether it is in town or country. I usually walk early in the morning, before the sun comes up and the heat becomes unbearable.

Several weeks ago, I was walking along, communing with nature, when I heard a noise behind me that sounded like the whimper of an animal. It was an animal. A large yellow dog was following along behind me and was apparently trying to get my attention. I thought he would drop off somewhere along the way, but alas, he followed me home.

It was apparent that he had missed several meals. I gave him some leftovers and he inhaled everything I put in front of him. He even ate the bread we had put out for the raccoons and possums that occasionally come by for a snack. This dog was hungry!

After a week or so, we ran an obligatory lost-and-found ad in the newspaper while we held our breath that no one would call. We even posted a notice at a local vet clinic. Much to our relief, no one claimed our new-found friend.

In the weeks he has lived with us he has gained about 10 pounds and is a healthy, energetic dog. We think he is mostly Lab, maybe purebred. We don’t really care about his pedigree; we enjoy his companionship.

All of our children are grown and away from home. I hadn’t really considered that we were “empty nesters” until the dog moved in. Watching him play with any and everything from a sock to a pinecone keeps us entertained most evenings. Caring for him has added a dimension to our life that has been missing since the kids left home.

We suspect that our dog, we named him Bo, was abused in his former life since he cowers down at the slightest hint of disapproval. Gradually he is gaining confidence and establishing our home as his home. He is gentle with children and doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body.

We have two cats, but they are not dogs. The late columnist, Lewis Grizzard, often wrote about the antics of his Lab and how that dog filled a hollow space in his life. I agree with Grizzard, cats are sneaky, arrogant and aloof. Dogs are loving, accepting and loyal.

The presence of animals has been proven to lift depression in people. Many animal shelters take well-behaved dogs to nursing homes and let the residents just pet them. Just this simple act frequently causes improvement in patient spirits.

Perhaps there should be a dog in your life. Forget purebred animals with lengthy pedigrees. Just go by the local animal shelter and adopt a big dog. Or perhaps with luck, you will have an experience like mine and have a dog adopt you.

THOUGHT FOR THE MOMENT

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.

— inventor THOMAS EDISON (1847-1931

Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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